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Richard Anthony Jefferson


Richard Anthony Jefferson (born 1956) is an American-born molecular biologist, who developed the reporter gene system GUS, a widespread molecular technique. In 2003 he was named by Scientific American as one of the 50 most influential technologists in the world.[1]

Studies and Career

Born in Santa Cruz, California, Jefferson studied at the University of California, Santa Barbara at the College of Creative Studies, and obtained his BA (Molecular Genetics) in 1978. He then moved to the University of Colorado at Boulder for his Ph.D., where he first developed the GUS reporter system.[2]

As a postdoc he worked at the Plant Breeding Institute in Cambridge, England: here he adapted the GUS assay for the use in plants. [3] His GUS system was a breakthrough in plant molecular sciences, useful for the development of efficient transformation methods for crop plants. During his postdoc in Cambridge he also managed the world's first field release of a transgenic food crop (June 1, 1987). [4]

In 1989 Jefferson joined the FAO as senior scientist, the first molecular biologist in this position. Since then he traveled, worked and taught in many developing countries. He left the organization in 1991, when he founded a private research institution, the CAMBIA Organization. His non-profit company moved later in Australia, due to the involvement in the Asian rice biotechnology programs of the Rockefeller Foundation. [4]

Richard Jefferson is known also for his expertise regarding the intellectual property and his foundation is active in the promotion in biology of a similar philosophy to the open source in informatics. [5]


  1. ^ Scientific American Website: The 2003 Scientific American 50 List of Winners [1], URL accessed on 30 May 2006
  2. ^ beta-Glucuronidase from Escherichia coli as a gene-fusion marker. R.A. Jefferson, S.M. Burgess, and D. Hirsh PNAS 1986 November; 83(22): 8447–8451 [2]
  3. ^ GUS fusions: beta-glucuronidase as a sensitive and versatile gene fusion marker in higher plants. R.A. Jefferson, T. A. Kavanagh, and M. W. Bevan EMBO J. 1987 December 20; 6(13): 3901–3907 [3]
  4. ^ a b Richard Jefferson profile on the CAMBIA Organization website [4]; URL accessed on 30 May 2006
  5. ^ Profile: Richard Jefferson Stephan Herrera, Nature Biotechnology June 2005 vol. 23 n. 6 p. 643 doi:10.1038/nbt0605-643

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Richard_Anthony_Jefferson". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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